If your hard drive is having any of these ten symptoms then you must take immediate action to backup your files…
“I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.” ~ Isaac Asimov
Like the late, great Mr. Asimov said, we shouldn’t worry about computers taking over but be more concerned when they fail us and take all our important files with them. A computer’s hard drive is the central storage within the system and its failure will bring all practical functions to a complete halt.
If your PC is experiencing any of the following signs of troubles then you must run (not walk) and grab CDs to burn backups of all your essential data.
Sign 1 – You hear high-pitched whining, loud clicking or grinding noises coming from the drive
A normally operating drive will make a smooth “whirling” sound as is spins up or down. But if a drive has a grinding or clicking sounds (the Read/Write heads scraping too close to the magnetic platters), then your drive is sick and is on the way out. Read more to analyze the clicking sound on your Hard Drive in other post dedication to the topic.
Sign 2 – You see the infamous “Blue Screen of Death”, repeatedly
BSODs (Blue Screens of Death) are actually called “Stop” errors and they only appear when your Windows system is experiencing severe software or hardware issues. Often BSODs can cured with a careful “Repair Install” of the Windows operating system or by removal of a bad device driver. But if these software fast fixes don’t seem stick, then your hard drive is usually on its last legs. You can use a nice BSOD investigation utility, as manual identification of the presented problem description is not an easy task.
Sign 3 – Your computer keeps re-booting on its own
The problem s not very frequent, and in some cases it can be attributed to hardware issues. It might be a dust covered motherboard, and an overheating processor. But, in a vast majority of the cases, it might be due to bad drives. The detailed problem investigation is offered in my earlier dedicated post.
Sign 4 - The computer locks up during booting
The occasional hanging during the boot process shouldn’t worry you too much but when it happens like every other startup, these could be red flags for a serious problem.
Sign 5 – Your system keeps having frequent freezes or hang ups
You are working along just fine, and then suddenly everything comes to a halt. The program freezes up on you. Your mouse and keyboard seem to stop responding. The only solution is to reboot.
Sign 6 - The Missing Files
It happens once awhile, you might delete a file and not know you did it, but if files randomly start turning up missing, start worrying. The next file to go AWOL may be an integral system file that the entire operating system hinges on.
Sign 7 – Error message: hard drive is not formatted
This a fun message that you will get when you start up your machine. You may be able to restart and get it to boot into Windows a few more times but this error is “fur-sure” sign that you drive is very close to death. And by the way don’t try to format the drive! You will lose all your data.
Sign 8 – Error message: boot drive or device not found or drive cannot be accessed
Unfortunately, this not very funny message happened many times in my troubleshooting career. In most cases I was still able to retrieve the data from the drive, but reviving the drive is rather a complicated task. You can check the CD/DVD trays or the floppy drive to make sure no stray disks are stuck inside. You can also check the BIOS to make sure the system is booting from the hard drive first. If all these tests are no-good, then the drive is a goner.
Sign 9 – Errors: Operating system not found or Missing Operating System
This is a bad one. Even the Microsoft technical support knowledgebase has only got a few causes for this error message. Basically your PC can no longer detect the hard drive or the drive is too severely damaged to read (DOA).
Sign 10 - Accessing, opening, or saving files are taking awfully slow.
It’s like your computer’s memory has suddenly decreased into nothingness such that even small document files are too much for its capacity. Do not panic, check first if your Hard Drive is not full. We always recommend our customer to keep Hard Drive full of no more than 70% of its capacity. It is definitely suggestion on a safe side. But you want to be safe as well?
What to do if your drive has any of these symptoms:
1) First, listen up, if possible, BACKUP YOUR FILES NOW!
2) Create a boot disk and run Windows Scandisk and set it to automatically fix errors. If it finds more than a few bad sectors then see the point above
3) If possible download and use a hard drive diagnostic program. All the major hard drive manufacturers have free utilities on their websites. Repair what you can and see point 1.
Sources and Additional Information: